Take a minute and think about this. Do your thoughts affect your reality? According to current scientific and psychological research they absolutely do. The state of your mental and physical health can be determined by your mindset. Intrigued? Want to know how you can change your health just by thinking differently? Then keep reading.
None of us is perfect or has a perfect life. Not me. Not you. No one. Nobody wakes up everyday to a perfectly timed routine, with the healthiest of foods already prepared or in the happiest of moods. No one has the best day everyday, either. It’s just not possible.
Many days are more like waking up to see your child or pet had an accident overnight which you now have to clean up. Maybe you slept terribly because of the stress in your life or maybe more things went wrong in the day than went right. It happens to everyone at some point in their day, week, etc in some form.
It’s easy to get bogged down with life’s curveballs, especially when they seem to come all at once, but by letting them keep you down it’s hard to be UP. Isn’t that what you want? To thrive in life? I know I do! I bet you wouldn’t be reading this if you didn’t.
What it Means to Have a Positive Mindset
First off, what is a positive mindset? Does it mean you have to be happy all the time? No. Does it mean you have to think everything is hunky dory all the time? Definitely not. That could get you into some real trouble!
“Positive thinking does not necessarily mean avoiding or ignoring the bad things; instead, it involves making the most of the potentially bad situations, trying to see the best in other people, and viewing yourself and your abilities in a positive light.” Basically, it means you “approach life’s challenges with a positive outlook.” 1
Just because the transmission went out on the car, or your child ends up in trouble at school does not mean you have to focus on the negative aspects of the situation. Having a positive mindset in these situations means believing they can be remedied and you will be able to go back to living your life as normal, again.
How a Positive Mindset Affects Your Physical Well-Being
In recent years, studies have shown having a positive mindset is directly linked to a decreased chance in being diagnosed with a major disease such as heart disease or diabetes.
One study performed by Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health tracked 70,000 women’s health via surveys every two years. They looked at participants’ levels of optimism and other factors that might play a role in how optimism may affect mortality risk, such as race, high blood pressure, diet, and physical activity.2
The most optimistic women (the top quartile) had a nearly 30 percent lower risk of dying from any of the diseases analyzed in the study compared with the least optimistic (the bottom quartile), the study found. The most optimistic women had a: 2
- 16 percent lower risk of dying from cancer
- 38 percent lower risk of dying from heart disease
- 39 percent lower risk of dying from stroke
- 38 percent lower risk of dying from respiratory disease
- 52 percent lower risk of dying from infection.
Additionally, researchers on three continents have found that older individuals holding more-positive self-perceptions of aging (SPA) live longer than their same-aged peers holding more-negative SPA, even AFTER adjusting for relevant health and demographic variables.3
This was confirmed by measuring each participants levels of C-reactive protein. This protein is present when there is inflammation in the body. Oftentimes, inflammation is directly related to stress.
Mental Well-Being is Just as Important
It’s no surprise that cultivating a positive mindset helps with stress management, maintaining coping skills, resilience and an overall positive demeanor.
Those who keep this mindset tend to push through the hard stuff and not give up hope that situations will resolve or be overcome. It really does pay off to use this way of thinking.
Now, that we’ve covered the science side, let’s jump in to find out how you can do more THRIVING than diving!
Your Desire to Change is Where it All Starts
Change is simply moving away from something – you want less of and – moving toward something you want more of.
Know your why. The desire to change is going to be that thing that helps you push through on those days when you just don’t feel like doing it. Days when things feel hard or you don’t feel motivated.
A sense of Urgency
Giving yourself a sense of urgency will help you get going and do something to propel you forward even if it is not perfect.
It puts a priority on your desire to change so you can put your plan into action. This urgency is what makes you decide to make the change now, as opposed to another day.
Small steps over time – and be intentional about those steps. Remember, Rome wasn’t built in a day. Your goal(s) need to be built, too. Brick by brick. Each brick is a new step towards a better YOU!
For example, what are the intentions you want?
- To feel better?
- To have more energy?
- To do more of the things you love to do?
- To have a better outlook on life?
Be intentional that you want “change” and what that ideally looks like to you. Every step should guide you to your goal. Don’t forget: By consistently reaching small goals, you’re making your way to the big goals.
Be True to YOURSELF
We live in a world where we worry about what others think, about being judged by others. Being “liked” by others…
Sometimes this clouds our judgment. You will find that showing up as yourself (really digging in and deciding what better health looks like for you) is when being better to yourself and making healthier choices truly works.
If you can find a way to put the fear of what others are going to think aside, you will be significantly more likely to succeed. Ultimately, others are not experiencing your exact situation or reaching out for your better life. It is your life, so don’t let them stand in your way.
Put in the Work
Becoming unhealthy didn’t happen overnight so getting healthy probably won’t happen overnight either.
There is no such thing as “not having to do work” and to become successful. Anyone who has wanted anything has had to do something to get it.
Gradually increase the number of healthy things you integrate into your life. Not letting old habits creep back in. Keep an eye out for what triggers an unhealthy craving, thought, etc. By knowing what these are, it isn’t as hard to avoid them.
So to review: the steps look like:
- Know your Why – Your desire for change
- Add a sense of urgency to get your focus away from doing things perfectly – just start
- Be Intentional
- Be True to Yourself
- Put in the Hard Work
- Pay attention to details so you can follow through
Find Inspiration & Make Every Thought Count
Have you ever noticed how much easier things seem to be when you’re in a good mood? What about how much harder things are when you’re in a bad mood?
A positive mindset is like having the extra boost needed to reach something in the top of the cupboard. Once you have the boost, you just have to reach over and grab it.
Success in your health journey is much easier when you put yourself in positive surroundings every day – a walk, pleasant places in nature, calm spaces, images that lift you up, time with family and friends. Whatever lifts you up.
Four Things to Inspire You
- Be Inspired
Break your pattern of routine and do something that is adventurous to you. A walk, a bike ride, nature hike… or something even more intense. What is something you can do physically to activate your brain, your body, and your breath? Those things energize you and open you to new ideas and thoughts. They also help get those endorphins (feel good biochemicals) going in your brain.
Get outside your norm and go somewhere completely different from your typical routine. Variety can be good for you even if you have to schedule your adventure out for a future time in your life. Make those bucket lists. Those are things that will enrich your life.
2. Learn About history
Be inspired by visiting places where people from history thrived. These are archives of great accomplishments.
Even though they are from the past they can still inspire you to look forward. These people just lived their lives, they didn’t know that they were shaping history.
3. People Can Give Great Inspiration
See the passion and enthusiasm of others and live vicariously through their energy. Use the inspiration they give you to go after what you want.
Even if they are not in an area you would normally be interested in, look for the energy they give from being enthusiastic and passionate. It’s contagious once you see it.
Part of this is getting out of your own bubble. The bubble is limiting. It has boundaries. Meeting new people helps break your own boundaries of thinking and gives you other perspectives from which to see things.
4. Write Something Every day
This doesn’t sound as exciting as the other items but it is a chance to “hang out” with yourself. To explore your internal thoughts and feelings. Write or type. Doesn’t matter as long as you LET IT OUT.
Think about what you actually want in life. Write out your own ideas and see how you matter, how you are enough. See what your dreams are and how they are important.
It only takes 21 days of positive thinking to “rewire” your brain. That’s only 3 weeks to teach your brain to naturally think positively!
Live, Love, Matter – Inspired by Brendon Burchard
Live intentionally, love yourself, what you do Matters. What do you want life to be about? When you do this you will start to feel inspired more often.
I hope this has been helpful in your day. We want to inspire you to move forward in your journey of life & of better health. Don’t hesitate to reach out to me. I’m here for you if you need me.
I look forward to hearing your stories of adventure and the things that inspire you in your life. I read every email and do my best to reply to every comment.
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- What are you hoping to change?
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Until next time – Be Well!
Mary Howard RN
1Very Well Mind
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